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Early signs of dementia  

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Dementia is a group of symptoms and not a disease. Loss of memory is definitely a classical sign of early dementia; nonetheless several other changes are also observed. Dementia is progressive and the early stages are marked by number of recognizable symptoms...

We shall explain the early signs of dementia over here.

Memory loss with more to tell...

Experiencing trouble in remembering things cannot be downrightly considered dementia. Early signs of dementia entail some other impairment that significantly interfere with an individual’s ability to speak, communicate, judge, reason, concentrate and perceive. At least any of these two symptoms must be present along with loss of memory.

Short term memory loss

An individual tends to forget what happened recently while his/her distant memories may be well remembered.  Some common things observed during the early stages of dementia are, forgetting what had been served on meals, unable to recollect the purpose of going somewhere, or where the keys have been kept, etc.

Decline in knowledge

One of the most stark and prominent signs of early stage dementia is losing knowledge. They face a tough time to remember the right word while speaking, names of known personalities and also places. If they are in the midst of a conversation, then it will take a long time to complete or explain it as they struggle to get the right words.  

Change in mood and behaviour

It’s easy to understand the change in mood of your loved one. Depression comes with dementia and change in behaviour in many different forms will also get reflected. The individual might become outgoing and ritualistic along with some compulsive unnatural habits. Often old people tend to exhibit great deal of stubbornness in hoarding things like piles of books, files and papers. This condition is medically coined as extreme hoarding behaviour.

Trouble with handling money

During the early stages, it’s quite likely for an individual to face trouble in handling money.  Forgetting daily expenses, trouble in keepng a record of cheque book, etc. are quite evident.

Repeating things daily

Onset on dementia is characterised by repetitive behaviour. This is the reason why old people tend to do the same task over and again, repeat the same story numerous times, or ask the same question that has already been answered.

Difficulty in finding direction

Since the individual tends to forget things, it’s natural for him to face difficulty in recognising the landmarks taken daily. They may reach the destination but would tend to forget how to return.

Apathy and lack of interest

If your loved one has always been empathetic in nature, then dementia might rob off that nature. Exhibiting apathy and unaffected attitude are early symptoms. Consequently he/she might lose personal interest in his hobbies and most loved activities.

Confusion and trouble in following and understanding things

Sheer decline in reasoning and judgmental abilities leads to confusion and poor understanding. The individual will be confused on several occasions, especially when it comes to making a decision. He/she may not be able to understand a conversation happening around him or in television, etc.

Other symptoms could be avoiding an embarrassing situation or inability to perceive such situation, staring at objects and tripping often while walking.

It’s important to talk to your doctor soon about the changes that you or your loved one might be experiencing. The symptoms become worse with time, but can be well managed when you start the treatment plan early.  

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Written by: Saptakee sengupta
Date last updated: January 29, 2015

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